Beyond the Bright Lights

As we watch sporting events, we usually watch through the bright lights of the game. But, we should sometimes look beyond those bright lights.
…While watching through the bright lights the 33-18 Georgia win over Alabama, it was easy to see that conditions had changed for both teams. Alabama was missing their top 2 receivers with over 1000 receiving yards for a good portion of the game. Jameson Williams (Ritter Prep) & John Metchie III missed over half the game. Both were injured and had no other “strong” options. When one read the Alabama’s “take”on the game, one would have sworn that each of these two receivers are headed to the HOF 😊 But, It did play a factor. But looking beyond the bright lights, there was another factor. In the 1st half, Bama QB Bryson Young was hit, hit hard, and sent tumbling a few times. FAR MORE OFTEN than any other game. Those hits left an impression..maybe sublimely… that he had to hurry his throws. He hadn’t seen pressure like that all year. Maybe never…since most teams “protect” their QB all week long during practice. (No “hits” allowed on the QB) So…to end up on your rear end several times in the 1st half without a sack still DID HAVE AN EFFECT in the game! I continue to wonder why teams try guarding receivers & sending only 4 men to rush. With the “option” routes & the cleverly designed patterns to create space for the receiver, it seems that a team MUST put pressure on the QB to slow down the passing game. Remember with 5 lineman & the QB, you can play straight up m/m coverage with 6 rushers.
…the bright lights ALWAYS shine on the QB. QB are the glamor boys of the sport. They usually are the early targets of the NFL & the in the recruiting stages in the NCAA-F. But, looking beyond those bright lights, one sees a National Championship team being led by a walk-on– QB Stetson Bennet! Bennett’s long story hasn’t ever been in the bright lights until this year. He, was a walk-on as a Frosh. When Georgia brought in highly touted QB Justin Fields at the end of that season, Bennett transferred to a JUCO team for his Soph year. After that 2nd season, when Fields transferred out, Georgia then offered Bennet a scholarship to return to Georgia. In 2019, he played in 4 games in mop-up roles. In 2020, he played in 8 games with 8 TD passes & 6 INT. Then, this year in 2021, he passed for 2862 yards, 29 TD’s with 7 INTs and led the Bulldogs to their 3rd National Title! It was the NCAA-F version of Cinderella! I mean, with a name like Stetson, that’s better known as a Whiskey or a Western Style Hat, what were his odds of EVER playing in the NCAA final? The last Bulldog National Football championship team had a running back named Herschel Walker! Step aside Herschel, make room for this new folk hero, now in the bright lights…at least in Georgia 😊
…the bright lights shine on the MLB & MLBPA as they both seem to agree on accepting the DH in 2022. The union & owners look at it as a “big”step forward offensively. Looking beyond those bright lights at the 2021 batting stats, one finds that the Cards pitchers only batted 232 times last year. Their 1.4 ab/game with a batting average of .170. The MLB average was .244. Further, Card pitchers had 35 sacrifice bunts while the Cardinals “regular” batters had a total of 5 sacrifice bunts. Sooo… is it REALLY going to make that much difference as “regular” batters hit 1.4x more per game with a .244 avg?
…ALWAYS seeking & relishing the bright lights, Deion Sanders has not changed. Once a 2-sport player in MLB & NFL, he’s now the HC @ Jackson State Football. He took the job in September 2020. His goal is to take Jackson State to the “big time…and do it in a hurry. He won the 2021 SWAC East Division with an 8-0 conference record and an overall mark of 11-2 after posting a 4-3 mark in his 1st year. He’s still flashing his bright light approach this year. He’s signed Travis Hunter, ranked as the class of 2022’s No. 1 recruit by, pulling him away from Florida State. In addition, he added the #4 WR in the USA. That receiver was a local player, Kevin Coleman from St. Marys.
….Looking through the sports bright lights, Eli Drinkwitz (MU Football Coach) has displayed some strong talent. His recruiting ability landed a top rated receiver, Luther Burden of ESL. His play calling produced strong results in this 1st year @ MU. However, his 11-12 record @ Columbia isn’t drawing any real recognition. But…looking, beyond the bright lights, there’s a different type of light. In his 2 years as HC, Coach Drink has hired 7 new assistants. By comparison, in Gary Pinkel’s 15 years @ Mizzou, he hired a total of 6 new assistant coaches! What does this mean? Is Coach Drink is growing as a HC? Did Coach Drink make some mistakes in hiring? Did the job not fit the Coaches? Whatever? Don’t forget that those departing assistant coaches recruited most of the talent for Coach Drink.
….many of us are wrapped up totally in the bright lights of the Cardinals. That’s fine!! But, sometimes we may miss some notes beyond the bright lights. For example, Tampa Bay, who guards their money chest like no other highly rated team, went “big time” on a salary. TB signed their 20 year old star rookie, Wander Franco, to a 11 year, $182m deal. By far, the biggest TB contract EVER! Franco’s contract is a game-changer for TB. Franco’s contract is worth nearly as much as Tampa Bay’s payrolls from the past 4 seasons COMBINED!!! Why? He’s 20 years old, he was TB’s best batter by the end of last season. He’s already in the record book for a 43 game on-base streak. In the clutch, he went 7 for 19 with 2 HR’s against the Red Sox in the playoffs last year! Is TB beginning a new trend?
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